The future USS San Diego (LPD 22) was launched May 7 from Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding's Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. The launch of the 684-ft ship into the Gulf of Mexico marks an important milestone in the ship's construction process.
"As the sixth ship of the class, this launch is a considerable achievement in the program." said Jay Stefany, LPD 17 program manager for the Navy's Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "The ship was more than 75 percent complete prior to launch, more complete than any other ship of the class at this point in construction. We continue to work with the shipbuilders to identify production improvements and a consistent build plan that will lead to lower costs and predictable schedules.” San Diego is the first ship of the LPD 17 class that started construction after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.
The ship's keel was laid May 23, 2007. Named for the city of San Diego and her future homeport, the ship's next major milestone will be christening, scheduled for June. The future USS San Diego is expected to deliver to the Navy in 2011.
The principal mission of LPD 17 class amphibious transport dock ships is to transport and deploy the necessary combat and support elements of Marine Expeditionary Units and Brigades. The ship will carry approximately 720 troops and have the capability of transporting and debarking air cushion (LCAC) or conventional landing craft and Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles (EFV), augmented by helicopters or vertical take off and landing aircraft (MV 22). These ships will support amphibious assault, special operations and expeditionary warfare missions through the first half of the 21st century.
As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all major surface combatants, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft. Currently, the majority of shipbuilding programs managed by PEO Ships are benefiting from serial production efficiencies, which are critical to delivering ships on cost and schedule.